This is an excerpt from my upcoming book
You're Already Hypnotized: A Guide to Waking Up.
THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
“Collective unconscious” was a term coined by Jung to distinguish this part of the mind from the personal unconscious—what I described as the subconscious mind. Where the subconscious holds beliefs, ideas and memories from past personal conscious experiences, which are now for the most part forgotten, the collective unconscious, or universal unconscious as it is sometimes called, is impersonal. It is ancestral, or inherited, so to speak, because it contains all universal knowledge from the beginning of time.
Every thought, idea, deed, feeling, event and action that ever existed from any life form at any time is stored in this vast universal part of our mind. I think of the collective unconscious as a deeper depth within the subconscious, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll describe it a separate part of the mind since it functions differently. There is ultimately only one mind, and any division is merely a way of understanding the dynamics of the mind from our current fragmented level of perception.
The collective unconscious has been referenced throughout history by various spiritual systems and mystics. You may have heard it described as the Akashic Records, which is a non-physical library containing the books of knowledge and events compiled throughout existence. It is said that each soul from the time it comes into existence to the time it returns back to the Mind of God (or oneness) has a personal book of records that contains all thoughts, experiences and actions.
This book also holds all probable realities. Some seers believe it is used in the afterlife to help us understand our lessons, like relationships or addictions, and to better prepare us for our next life. (In the career chapter, there is a self-hypnosis exercise for glimpsing your Akashic Record.) Nostradamus, the 16
century seer, was said to have accessed the Akashic Records, as did Edgar Cayce.
Edgar Cayce, commonly known as the “sleeping prophet,” was undoubtedly the world’s greatest psychic and healer. Born in Kentucky in 1877, Cayce was a modest, humble man with an eighth-grade education. By all accounts he was a normal guy—a loving husband and father, a photographer and a Sunday school teacher—but he was far from typical.
Cayce had a remarkable ability to enter an unconscious hypnotic trance state, tune into the bodies of other people (most of whom he had never met and who lived in other states and countries) and accurately diagnose their ailments and prescribe alternative remedies, usually with things found in any kitchen. While in trance, Cayce spoke in complex biological and medical language, but upon awakening he could not remember or sometimes even comprehend what he had said.
Cayce learned of his ability at 23 years old when he contracted an illness that resulted in the loss of his voice. It became a medical mystery. Prominent doctors could not diagnose nor cure him. After a year of not speaking, Cayce resigned to the belief that his condition would be permanent. At the time, hypnosis was becoming increasingly popular. A traveling hypnotist put Cayce into a trance with the suggestion that he would recover his voice under hypnosis, and he did! Out of trance, however, his voice was again lost.
A local hypnosis aficionado, Al C. Layne, heard about the strange case and made a proposition. He thought he could help Cayce diagnose himself under hypnosis, and prescribe his own cure. Sure enough, in hypnosis Cayce described his vocal cords as having been paralyzed due to nerve strain. Cayce went on to explain that he could be healed through a hypnotic suggestion to circulate more blood to the region. As Layne gave the suggestion, Cayce’s face and neck flushed with blood. Twenty minutes later, while still in trance, Cayce pronounced himself cured. And he was.
Later in life Cayce used this unconscious trance state to obtain universal information on the nature of reality. By the end of his life he had become a celebrity, having helped tens of thousands of people heal where traditional medicine had failed, and illuminating the metaphysics of life where religious and educational institutions fell short. Cayce became the Father of Holistic Medicine, ushering in what we now call the New Age.
Cayce’s wife, Gertrude, became his “hypnotist” for the readings. She made the authoritative suggestion to Cayce’s mind before each session that he would answer all of her questions and then diagnose the problem and prescribe cures. Cayce would then be able to access the deep reservoirs beyond his subconscious to the collective unconscious. This is his account:
I see myself as a tiny dot out of my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness. Suddenly, I am conscious of a white beam of light. As this tiny dot, I move upward following the light, knowing that I must follow it or be lost.
As I move along this path of light I gradually become conscious of various levels upon which there is movement. Upon the first levels there are vague, horrible shapes, grotesque forms such as one sees in nightmares. Passing on, there begin to appear on either side misshapen forms of human beings with some part of the body magnified. Again there is change and I become conscious of gray-hooded forms moving downward. Gradually, these become lighter in color. Then the direction changes and these forms move upward and the color of the robes grows rapidly lighter.
Next, there begin to appear on either side vague outlines of houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless. As I pass on, there is more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. With the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds. There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and there is the sound of wonderful music. The houses are left behind, ahead there is only a blending of sound and color. Quite suddenly I come upon a hall of records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I seek information.
Understanding this nonphysical phenomenon of the Akashic records is difficult for those of us trapped in a linear perception of reality, but if you think of everything as energy, then every thought or action leaves an imprint in the universal energetic field. Someone like Cayce tunes into this in their mind and translates that information through their field of reference.
Cayce believed that anyone could do what he did. He understood that all minds are joined. When we tap into that collective unconsciousness, we tap into universal knowledge.
Jung is famous for his idea of archetypes that exist within this collective unconscious. An archetype is a universal image or symbol, like a hero or a wise old man (like the one in Cayce’s experience who hands him the Akashic book) or even events like birth and death, which transcend time, language and culture but are imprinted in the collective mind. Because of those imprints we all intuitively understand those symbols when they show up in our experience or in our dreamworld.
Attributes of the Collective Unconscious Mind:
Universal record of all knowledge and events
Check out the featured video on Edgar Cayce on the right. (This is part one, the rest can be seen on YouTube.)
My favorite Edgar Cayce books are
For more information on Edgar Cayce, visit his organization
Edgar Cayce Reading 294-19 Report File from A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc.)